PESHAWAR, Pakistan -- Militants detonated a car bomb at a bustling market in Pakistan’s volatile tribal belt Monday, killing at least 17 people and injuring more than 70 others just two days after Pakistani Taliban fighters launched a coordinated assault on an airport in the nearby city of Peshawar.
The powerful explosion tore through several shops and severely damaged more than a dozen vehicles in the town of Jamrud, the administrative headquarters of the Khyber tribal region along the border with Afghanistan, local officials said. Muhammad Iqbal, a Khyber administration official, said the bomb was planted in an abandoned car at the market.
The target of the blast remained unclear. A Pakistani paramilitary forces base is located next to the market, and further down the street are the Khyber administration offices. However, it appeared most of the dead and wounded were townspeople doing their morning shopping. Among the injured were several women and children. Ten people, including a child, were in critical condition, said another Khyber official, Muhammad Nasir.
No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Pakistani Taliban maintains a strong presence in the Khyber region. The insurgent group took responsibility for a rocket-grenade assault on the airport and air force base in Peshawar on Saturday that killed four civilians. Five militants were killed in the attack, and five other attackers were killed in a gun battle with security forces Sunday afternoon.